As we were beginning the season of remembrance of victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, a very important and significant event somehow failed to capture the local media’s attention.
A group of people travelled all the way from Kenya to join their East African brothers and sisters in mourning their loved ones.
But underlying that visit, as the leader of the delegation said, was to learn from Rwanda’s tragedy. To learn how the folly of extremist politics can throw a whole nation into an abyss.
Kenyan politics are usually spiced with violence, as we witnessed in the 2007-2008 post-election. So, the Kenyan visitors are on a sort of pilgrimage; they will return home with lessons learnt to hopefully share with others.
So, even for Rwandans, visiting various Genocide memorials should not just be a seasonal affair; remembering our dead should not just be a 100-day ceremony and then lock out the rest of the year.
The resting grounds of our loved ones should not just act as a must-not-miss on the tourism circuit for foreigners only. Rwandans should be the ones leading the way.
Visiting memorial sites recharges someone’s conscience; it is a sort of shock treatment to bring us back to reality. It is a constant reminder that we should not let our guard down lest history repeats itself.
But when someone takes a back seat during commemorative events, leaving everything to the government and Ibuka, it is a disservice to the future generations.
The flames of remembrance, patriotism and humanity should forever shine, to remind all that it is their responsibility to be the vanguard of making sure “Never Again” is not just an empty slogan.